A new study has shown that horses who weave in the stable could benefit from mirrors

A study at Lincolnshire School of Agriculture, has shown that stable vices such as weaving may be cured or even prevented if stabled equines are allowed close access to a stable companion via a barred opening or if they have access to a mirror.

A team of researchers lead by Daniel Mills at the school near Grantham,. Lincs, has been investigating the effects of using specially designed mirrors in horse’s stables.

“We had a group of six horses and all of them had been weaving for at least two years – we believe one had been weaving for 12 years,” he explains. “All of them either stopped or virtually stopped displaying the vice within a day once they were put in a stable with either the barred window or a specially designed mirror. However, once we removed the window or mirror, they immediately went back to displaying the vice.”

However, Daniel says he is not suggesting owners should buy any mirror to put in a stable in the hope of an instant cure as this would be dangerous to the horse.

“I’m hoping that we can develop the project with a company to market a commercial mirror.”

The research project however is fast running out of funds and now relies totally on donations.

” The government has put no money into improving the welfare of the horses,” said Daniel.

“Our aim is that any funds would go back into our programme of radically redesigning the way we keep horses – too many people treat their horses as if it were a car to be put in a box.”

For more information on this project contact: Daniel Mills, c/o The Animal Behaviour, Cognition & Welfare Group, Lincolnshire School of Agriculture, Caythorpe Campus, Lincolnshire, NG 32 3EP